Palaver on stage

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On Friday I went downtown to the Kenya National Museum. First time there. In a small auditorium, The Leakey Auditorium, I join a few other writing enthusiasts. I always get late to venues, especially if it is my first time. It took me more than 300 bob to get there when in fact I could have used less than hundred bob. You know Nairobi with her spiraling financial needs. You need to save every little penny. Lacking ten bob might force you to walk home.

There was a writers Ekklessia going down put together by Writers Guild Kenya. Writers Guild Kenya’s boss goes by the name Mr. Gabriel Dinda. A young man, shy right from the face though someone hinted to me that I should not judge his book by the cover because he isn’t shy, he is just a humble guy. I like humble individuals. After all we are all human beings, nothing to brag about because if we were all laid on a surgical table and our skin cut, blood would ooze out of all of us.

This writers ekklessia happens on every Friday afternoon (2-5pm). For the longest time I had purposed to attend but circumstances had me by the collar. On this Friday, my schedule was loose. Having just finished my school a few months ago, and looking for something to hook up with for the time being, enriching my skills and garnering more knowledge looks like the only thing I do nowadays. I find myself in this beautiful hall.

There are a few people when I arrive. I sit at the back, not because I’m six feet up but because I loathe attracting attention. I’m the kind of person who would want to walk anywhere without making people turn or crane their necks.

The High Commissioner for Zambia to Kenya was to be the Guest. Well, I didn’t know that is a big tittle until I actually saw her being addressed as Her Excellency and her assistant bowing to her. Deep in my mind I thought, dam! what in the hell is happening! Bowing?

I don’t regard much about power. Having been around power and knowing how lonely it can be, its no big deal. I don’t revere people, not that much. But then, I respect the office. And I think that is what the assistant was doing. Phew! Having attended so many public lectures, which normally turn out to be boring, I’m not usually excited about them anymore. It doesn’t kill if I attended one though. It would be good for a story, you know. My eyes are always roaming and sharp and they read faces, my ears hear things, whispers and even unsaid words. Plus I get to network. It is said, your network is your networth.

There are presentations here and there. Powerful presentations that make you feel you have never seen talent. Or that you don’t know anything. You’re just a rookie. There were these three guys who presented spoken word, each moving the crowd. I am an easy crier…so mostly I just listened without looking at the presenter because then, tears would flow easily. I hate doing that- being too emotional to just a piece of presentation. At some point I felt like I am nothing. You know this point in life where you just don’t know what to do with your life? Because someone seems to know everything and you don’t? I was there.

I was keenly watching the reaction of Her Excellency Ms Brenda Muntemba. I just wanted to see if she was vulnerable to the presentations as I was. I think she would have been if the presenters were facing her. She just saw their backs, but I guess she loved the message.

She took to the stage later on…the organizers were grappling with everything to make her feel comfortable. She deserved it, after all she has other many tittles to herself. In her full white, she stood between the Kenyan and Zambian flags. The apparel augured well with her personality and her quality talk. She tackled something to do with ‘Tapping your passion to unlock Opportunities.’

A woman with a soft voice. You see there are naturally boring voices, the ones that even if they are talking sweet things, you just can’t feel them. Hers was naturally alluring. Coming out of soft lips and feeding common sense to us.

Leaving the talk out, she is a Reverend. And I could see that through her eyes. And her talk. Having authored two books- Secrets Unveiled and In Retrospect, she appeared to me much of a talker than an author. Though the two share a sleeve, at times. She infused religion and wisdom so powerfully that I felt it is what the world needed to recuperate from the ailments it is suffering from.

So full of optimism, positivity and wisdom. She mentioned one point that I took home- you don’t have to do things at the world arena for you to make a difference, just start with the small things around you. Which of course is a principle I believe in. That you don’t need much to start doing what you desire. Just do the small you can. You will be blessed for it.

She broke down the word IMAGE-Innovative, Mastery, Authentic, Guts, Ethical. That was basically the end of her presentation. She is well-humored though many audience members were too dull-witted to notice. And composed.

However, she did mention that as a writer, you only need an IMAGE kit. With disciplined adherence to the kit, gradual success will kiss you and eventually you’ll be on the centre stage in the world of fame.

I am like a young version of her. For the first time, I found someone with whom I had similarities. And for a moment, she became an icon to me, I don’t usually have one. I wouldn’t mind her mentoring me. I think it would be fun, and well, self actualizing.

Before I finish, there is this time she asked each of us to tell their first name. When it was my turn, I shouted, Mzangila. I had to spell it for her and for the audience. Is that a name of a person, really? I pictured someone might have asked themselves.

Then she was selling her books at five hundred bob each. To say the truth, I didn’t have an idea about selling of books, so I didn’t buy one. But I shall do so some other time.

I didn’t get to greet her. Some ladies were on my heels. Apparently, they do read my blog, and were excited to meet me in person. Sometimes it is not a good thing. We got talking until I got drowned and had to run to do some errands. I did not have time to chat with Her Excellency. But I know we shall meet. And one day maybe, she shall be my mentor.


Yours truly,

Justine Mzangila


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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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Am glad this turned out to be an interesting public lecture for you. From the spoken word, i’m sure they gave u writing ideas..looking forward to those posts.


IMAGE. Taking that home.